MAHOMET — A Lake Forest-based wrestling and fitness training center is set to become the anchor tenant in the Sangamon on Main co-working building in the former Sangamon Elementary School.
Poeta Training Center, a which offers wrestling and fitness programs year-round, has leased the main gym and additional space totaling about 4,300 square feet for its second location.
Walter Pierce, director of the Mahomet Area Chamber of Commerce, said the community welcomes the new business.
“It’s a major ‘get.’ We are really excited,” Pierce said. “I think it’s not only drawing local, but they’re drawing from a pretty wide radius. I think it’s a pretty good deal. (We’re) pretty excited about this.”
Sangamon on Main LLC bought the vacant former school in August 2018 and has spent the intervening time converting it into is a multi-tenant, co-working facility that is now home to 12 businesses.
Poeta’s new location, to be called Poeta South, will offer year-round wrestling and fitness programs, along with birthday parties and event rentals. The company, which bills itself as central Illinois’ only year-round high-level wrestling training center, will have program options for all ages and all levels. The coaching staff is composed of University of Illinois wrestling alums, including Emery Parker and Zane Richards.
Jill Guth of Guth and Associates, who does all leasing for Sangamon on Main, said the talks to bring Poeta to town were only about six weeks in the making.
“It’s actually moved pretty quickly,” Guth said. “They were looking at locations in Champaign-Urbana, and we were able to persuade them that Sangamon on Main was a better location for them.
“It’s a unique building. It has the ... large multipurpose gymnasium room, (so) we were able to provide something that no one else could,” she added. “That really was the hook we had with them.”
Guth noted that Mahomet is just 7 miles from Champaign-Urbana and centrally located for people across the region. And officials at Sangamon on Main LLC are happy with the growth they’ve seen at the building.
“We’re checking the boxes, and the momentum is definitely growing at Sangamon on Main,” she said. “We’re just really pleased with the progress of Sangamon on Main in a year.”
Poeta Manager Callie Skalla, a Champaign resident who will also manage the new location, said the business’s lease begins Oct. 1 and its first event is Oct. 2. Initially, Poeta South will employ a head coach and an assistant coach.
“The hope is to employ as many as possible,” Skalla said.
Officials expect to host volunteer coaches and people from the community to help youth with wrestling, plus have a program collaborating with personal trainers in the area so that they can use the Poeta South space.
Poeta is focused on giving wrestlers and coaches more mat time, more partners, more exposure and more opportunities, allowing the area’s best wrestlers to work together. Personal training, boxing/kickboxing, and group fitness programs will be offered by local personal trainers. Indoor birthday parties will have a multitude of options, including bounce houses.
In the future, Poeta South plans to have before- and after-school care programs and help the community in other ways. It is inviting all wrestlers and their parents to come check out the space and attend their first clinic with host Emery Parker from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 2. Online pre-registration is required. The cost is $20 if the wrestler has not registered for the fall pre-season program. More information is at www.poetasouth.com.